EAST/WEST - Sex & Politics

Not a trace of socialism – Moscow, at least at its centre, nowadays bears comparison with any capitalist city. Wealth, showiness, but also elegance as far as the eye can see – Moscow is no longer a grey city of apparatshiks. However, democracy is still a slow to take hold, especially if the degree of genuine democracy in the country is to be measured by its population’s treatment of minorities. Although paragraph 121, which outlawed gay and lesbian relationships, was abolished under Jelzin, there is little sign of real tolerance, equality or social acceptance. Nowhere was this more evident than during the Christopher Street Day (CSD) demonstrations in 2006 and 2007. The right to demonstrate was suddenly suspended and a violent clash inevitably ensued between the demonstrators and religious or right-wing nationalist counter-demonstrators, as well as the police. Those injured included many Russian homosexuals, but also visitors attending the demonstrations from abroad who made up a large part of the Christopher Street Day activists. At the same time, on the summery banks of the Moskva Hick catches up with gay men and women who discuss the worldwide CSD demonstrations, signs of liberalisation in Russia and their strategies for survival in a homophobic society. In the end we begin to at least comprehend that, for many, the implementation of democratic standards can seem to be a less than worthwhile cause.
by Jochen Hick Germany 2008 97’

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